The marmosets also known as zaris, are a group of New World monkeys.
There are 22 marmoset species in 4 genera.
All 4 genera are part of the biological family Callitrichidae.
Marmoset are found in the tropical forests of South America. They have also been occasionally spotted in Central America and southern Mexico.
The lifespan for marmosets is from 5 to 16 years, depending on the species.
Most marmosets are about 20 centimeters long. However, the pygmy marmoset measure on the average only 13.6 centimeters (5.3 inches) and weigh only 120 grams (4.2 ounces), making them the smallest monkeys in the world.
Marmosets together with tamarins are considered to be the most primitive monkeys. Their thumbs are not opposable. They have claws on all digits except for their big toes, which have nails. Unlike many other New World primates, marmosets do not have a prehensile tail. They also lack the ability to change their facial expressions.
The pelage is soft and silky, and often includes characteristic tufts of hair on the head. Coloration is variable and in some cases quite striking to the human eye.
They are highly active, living in the upper canopy of forest trees.
Marmosets are exudativore-insectivores. That is, all callitrichines feed on plant exudates, such as gum, sap, latex, and resin, and also consume insects and other small animals. The exudates are the main part of their diet. Their sharp lower teeth help them to gouge holes in trees or vines to consume the gum, sap or other fluids that are exuded.
Marmosets live in family groups of 3 to 15, consisting of one to two breeding females, an unrelated male, their offspring, and occasionally extended family members and unrelated individuals.
The home range of a marmoset group can vary from 5,000 to 65,000 square meters (1.2 to 16 acres). On any one day a marmoset group will travel about 500 to 1000 meters (1640 to 3280 feet).
The gestation period is 4 to 6 months, depending on species – twins are the norm, with single births being about as common as triplets.
Marmosets are characterized by a high degree of cooperative care of the young and some food sharing and tolerated theft. Adult males, females other than the mother, and older offspring, participate in carrying infants.
Father marmosets are an exceptionally attentive example of fathers within the animal kingdom, going as far as assisting their mates in giving birth, cleaning up afterbirth and even biting the umbilical cords attaching their newborn offspring to their mothers.
The word “Marmoset” comes from the French marmouset is of uncertain etymology although these monkeys are currently called ouistiti in French.
Marmosets are well-known New World monkeys, adding to the wonder of nature with their unique forms and behaviors, and thus an important focus of ecotourism.
Marmosets have been kept as pets since the early 17th century, but they require knowledgeable care to remain healthy.